Black Friday Beer: Samuel Smith’s Winter Warmer

November 23, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving (AKA ‘Black Friday’) is the opening day of the Christmas Shopping season, and it is marked by midnight openings of Big Box Retail Stores, One Day ONLY! sales, people camping out days in advance to take advantage of those sales, and in particularly spectacular years, riots at stores to get at the merchandise. This year there were supposed to be various union organized protests at Walmart stores across the country, although if there were any they seemed to be largely ignored by the bargain seeking public.

For me, Black Friday has nothing to do with shopping. It is a day in which I sleep in a bit after eating too much on Thanksgiving, a day in which I sleep off yet another disappointing Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day Loss, this year to the hated Redskins (and Good God, the idea of my favorite team facing Robert Griffin III twice a year for the next decade fills me with dread, as he is the quarterback that Michael Vick was supposed to be, except he is serious about the QB craft, actually working at it by watching film and studying and doing drills and having his receivers practice endlessly to get their timing down instead of relying solely on his physical talent as Vick did; RGIII is, if anything, a better natural athlete than Vick; and something else, something else…oh yeah, he is not a fucking dumbass like Vick was), and it is the first day on which I will drink a Christmas Beer.

American Football is Mutant Rugby played in protective pads

The initial Christmas Beer of 2012 is an old favorite, Samuel Smith’s Winter Warmer. Seeing the ever changing yet still familiar label* with the Bill Shakespeare quote is the first harbinger that my favorite time of year is coming soon. I will not drink this before Black Friday, nor will I drink any after Twelfth Night, but I am hardcore like that. Like Omar Little, I have a code.

At this stage, with the proliferation of seasonal brews, this barely qualifies as a ‘Christmas Beer’ as it is not spicy nor especially in high in alcohol nor amped up in any way, but I do not really care. It is smooth and good and only comes out at the end of the year, and that is enough for me, 7.5/10.

*The 2012 label is a bit of a letdown. Usually it depicts Dickensian or Elizabethan or Edwardian revelers in a Christmas scene. This year it depicts two rugby players in action. I suppose rugby has some winter/Christmas connotations, but damn it, I am American, and I demand that Samuel Smith confine themselves to my predisposed notions of an English Yuletide!


Beer Porn: Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, London

December 9, 2011

Noted friend of Tilting Suds, JPE, is in London for a few days of R & R.  At my suggestion, he made his way to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, famous for being the watering hole of Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, and on occasion, Mr. Tilting Suds himself.  JPE took the following photos:

Sweet Jeebus, that looks amazing

I expect Ebeneezer Scrooge to walk out that door if I look at this photo long enough. Note the date the Pub was rebuilt: 1667. Did anything happen in 1666 requiring the rebuilding of this pub?

I have said this many times, in many different contexts, but it bears repeating:  I am unabashedly Pro-American, but the British are just better than us in many ways, and pub culture is at the top of that list.


The Twelve Beers of Christmas

December 24, 2010

The First Beer of Christmas: Full Sail Wassail, Hood River, Oregon – I had this on tap at the Ginger Man.  Dark velvety brown with ruby highlights and a fluffy white head.  This was mildly sweet, with a caramel taste and some dried fruit and spiciness as well.  Very good, 7/10.

The Second Beer of Christmas: Anchor 2010 Christmas Ale – The Grand Daddy of American Christmas Ales, with an ever evolving recipe.  I had this on tap at the Ginger Man, and this year’s version has a spicy ginger aftertaste, which I liked, but everyone else who tried it with me hated.  Not as good as years past, but still a fine Christmas Beer, 7/10. Read the rest of this entry »


Samuel Smith Pure Brewed Lager beer

June 1, 2010

Hear’n, my chillens  and younguns, and lissen to the tell of the olden days when Anhesuserus Buschex and Milleradactyl roamed the vasty plains, and fearfits to flavor wereda norm, and no one brewed with flowers of hoppiness or dark malts or wild yeasts, and the ancient secrets were foresaken and near lost.  The brew was all light and no tasty and had to be dranken icy icy icy chill’d or it couldna be dranken at all, but some knew better, and they kept the flame lit in the dark caves and brewed the goodly stuff in their homes and basements and garages and shared some with their neighbors who learned that beer could have taste.  Soon after, if you looka’d in the dark corners and the bottomest of shelves, you’da find some new brews made like in the ancient times by those that knewda secrets, and wouldna let them die.

Lagers and Pilsners were all the Anhesuserus Buschex and Milleradactyl made, so when the goodly stuff returned, we ne’er drank the Pilsners and the Lagers, but the Anhesuserus Buschex and Milleradactyl made the Lagers and the Pilsners badly, so now we should try them ag’in. On the heatniest of the summer afternoons, when the burnt wood is made to glow again and the burgers sizzle and the franks splitten and blacken, a good lager will quench the thirst.  Lagers are generally German, but the Englishman Samuel Smith makes a good one, probably ’cause the English beat the Germans in two world wars and one world cup, crisp, light, perfect for a summer day, 7/10.


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